The 'Great St. Florence Potato Challenge' is a spud-tacular success!

Tuesday 28th July 2020 9:47 am
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The challenge was a great success

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Earlier this year before lockdown, over 100 participants entered into the Great St. Florence Potato Challenge, where they were challenged to prove their green fingers by growing the heaviest crop and the greatest number of potatoes.

The challenge was very simple - competitors paid £5 to receive one seed potato and one bucket. The participants took the kit home and added some soil or compost and planted their seed potato - and the rest was up to them until judgment day in July!

As well as being a charitable fund-raiser for the village church, it was also an educational challenge to involve children, families and the whole community. The event was sponsored by Birt & Co., Tenby, who provided the buckets and stickers for the challenge, Walter Simon, a grower for Puffin Produce, who provided the seed potatoes, and Puffin Produce, who donated prizes of vouchers from the local garden centre in St. Florence.

Walter Simon, a grower for Puffin Produce, said: “Obviously at the end of March normal life changed somewhat due to the pandemic and the challenge actually provided a great focus for many of the participants. The communication that the challenge engendered was fantastic, ‘never has so much fun been had from one potato tuber’ and ‘we have called ours Primrose’ were probably some of the funniest things on the WhatsApp group that was set up by some of the competitors! There were also various questions about how to get the tubers to grow - people would make sure the plant was happy by talking to it and someone even posted a picture of their ‘potato enjoying the view!’ during isolation in Tenby!”

The challenge weigh-in was held on Saturday, July 11, in St. Florence churchyard, and although was not the event organiser Jenny Close had envisaged due to current social distancing measures, it was still such a diverse day with a lovely atmosphere.

Key organiser Jenny Close said: “It was fascinating to hear about the different mediums people were growing in; ground shells, manure and gravel were just some of them. It was lovely to hear people just talking about it and also seeing how fascinated everyone was by potatoes. One of our participants was a 91-year-old lady who had a bucket in Swansea during lockdown and the youngest was two-years-old, so it really was wonderful how much fun was had both by young and old during this time that coincided with lockdown.”

The winners were categorised into groups comprising of School, Adult and Child, with first, second and third place prizes awarded. Walter, with his knowledge and skill as a potato grower for Puffin, also judged the competition and commented: “It was amazing what these people did with these potatoes - 100 people growing from just one tuber.”

The overall heaviest crop and champions of the competition were Emma and Pete Taylor, who grew an impressive 2.22kgs of potatoes, and the winners with the greatest number of potatoes were Iain and Helen Rich, who grew 55 potatoes from just one tuber!

Clare Stansfield, marketing manager at Puffin Produce, said: “Growing your own potatoes is easy, fun and a brilliant way to engage children with cultivating their own food. The competition was a great opportunity to give young children a better understanding of how food is produced and where it comes from. It was a pleasure to sponsor the inaugural event this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing it go from strength to strength in the years to come.”

Together with some donations, the Great St. Florence Potato Challenge has raised £600 in aid of St. Florence Church.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our generous sponsors, wonderful volunteers and everyone who embraced the challenge; you may want to keep your buckets for next year,” Jenny said.

Results were as follows:

SCHOOLS

Heaviest crop: 1. Adam?Stephens, St. Teilo’s RC School, Tenby (£40); 2; Angela Hobbs, St. Florence VC, School Class 1 (£10).

Largest number: 1. St. Florence VC School, Class 1 (£40); 2. St. Teilo’s RC School, Tenby (£10).

CHILDREN

Heaviest crop: 1. Alex, 14 years (£40); 2. Kate, 11 years (£10); 3. Edith, 3 years.

Largest number: 1. Amber, 4 years (£40); 2. Griff, 6 years (£10); 3. Daisy, 10 years.

ADULTS

Heaviest crop: 1. Emma and Peter Taylor (£40); 2. Rob Duffield; 3. Helen and Iain Rich.

Largest number: 1. Helen and Iain Rich (£40); 2. Emma and Peter Taylor; 3. Kate and Alan Herdman.

CHAMPION

Overall heaviest crop: Emma and Peter Taylor, 2.22kg (£30).

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